Richmond, Va.

Union Presbyterian Seminary (UPS) here broke ground July 21 on a campus in the heart of Charlotte’s SouthPark area. When the $6.5 million, 22,000-square-foot building opens in summer 2012, it will give the seminary’s Charlotte operation its first permanent home. 

“We think we have accomplished much in the past 10 years in training pastors and teachers for the life of the church,” said the Rev. Thomas Currie, dean of the seminary. “This new building will enable us to deepen and expand that work. It will also allow us to reach out to the community with new programs, outstanding speakers and opportunities for service.”

Said the Rev. Brian Blount, president of Union Presbyterian Seminary: “The Charlotte campus offers an opportunity for men and women called into ministry and Christian education to pursue this calling while being able to support themselves and their families in their current vocations. The new building will ensure that the seminary has the physical resources necessary to continue nurturing such a wonderful educational opportunity into the future.”

UPS began holding classes in Charlotte in 2002 on the campus of Queens University of Charlotte. With Queens needing the space for plans for an expanded student body and programs, Union arranged with Sharon Presbyterian Church to lease approximately three acres on its wooded campus.

The 50-year lease is for $1 a year, with the possibility of two 10-year extensions. Amid oaks and pines, Union will build on the church property a two-story building with two wings. It will include classrooms; a library big enough to hold 50,000 volumes; a multipurpose area with stained glass for worship and other large gatherings; seminary offices; other meeting space; a courtyard with a fountain and outdoor fireplace, and two indoor fireplaces.

Union is halfway toward the goal of raising $7 million for the building project.

AUSTIN, Texas ― Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary’s Board of Trustees has called Gregory Lee Cuéllar as assistant professor of Old Testament, to begin full time in January 2012. Cuéllar will serve as an adjunct professor in the upcoming fall 2011 term.

Cuellar and Suzie Park, who was also recently appointed as assistant professor of Old Testament, were part of the same 2010-2011 faculty search.
Cuéllar most recently taught at Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. Prior to that he taught Old Testament at Seminario Metodista Juan Wesley in Monterrey, Mexico, as well as Hebrew Bible at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He is a three-time grant fellow of the Hispanic Theological Initiative and has presented at numerous academic conferences in Mexico, Spain, and the United States.
Cuéllar has authored two books: Passages in the New World (Cushing Memorial Library Archives, 2006) and Voices in Marginality: Exile and Return in Second Isaiah 40-55 and the Mexican Immigrant Experience (Peter Lang Publishing, 2008); as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. He has a forthcoming book titled Archival Criticism: The Interrogation of Contexts and Texts in Early Modern Biblical Criticism.
A graduate of Texas A&M University-Kingsville and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Cuellar earned his Ph.D. in Biblical Interpretation from Brite and serves as pastor of Cliff Temple Baptist Church, a Spanish-speaking congregation in Dallas.

ATLANTA ― Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary has elected eight new members to its board of trustees and has named Martin Lehfeldt as its new board president.

Lehfeldt is a self-employed author, speaker, and consultant to foundations and nonprofit organizations who recently retired from the presidency of the Southeastern Council of Foundations. He is also an elder at Central Presbyterian Church of Atlanta.

Other new trustees are the Rev. Cynthia Burse, pastor of Bethany Presbyterian Church, Columbus, Ohio; Sue Colussy, retired attorney and director of immigration services for Catholic Charities of Atlanta; Ann Earnest, regional development director for the Presbyterian Foundation in Houston, Texas;  the Rev. Cecelya Taylor, pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Decatur, Ga.; the Rev. Van Moody, founder and pastor of The Worship Center Christian Church, Birmingham, Ala.; the Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, director of the PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C.; Henry M. Quillian III, an attorney withTaylor English Duma Law Firm in Atlanta, Ga.; and Roberto Young, a wealth advisor and founder of One Touch Holding Company in Atlanta.

The seminary has also been in the process of a staff reconfiguration. President and Dean Paul Roberts, together with the board recently hired Ms. Leslie Essien as development officer and the Rev. Olive Mahabir as associate for seminary relations.

SAN ANSELMO, Calif. ― Fueled by the arrival of new President James McDonald, San Francisco Theological Seminary has added four alumni to key positions at the seminary. 

Scott Clark, a 2009 Master of Divinity graduate, will serve as interim associate dean of student life and chaplain; Elizabeth E. P. McCord (M.Div. ’06) is the new director of enrollment; Donald P. Hammond (M.Div. ’11) is interim assistant to the director of enrollment; and Barbara England (M.Div. ’11) is interim program manager for the Program in Christian Spirituality.

Clark has worked with the SFTS Program in Christian Spirituality for the past two years and preaches regularly in Bay Area churches. Before attending seminary, he practiced law in Birmingham, Ala., working primarily on cases involving constitutional law and employment discrimination. 

Since graduating from SFTS, McCord ― a graduate of Davis & Elkins College, a PC(USA)-related school in West Virginia ― completed a year of Clinical Pastoral Education at John Muir Medical Center in Concord, CA, where she specialized in oncology. She has also worked in children’s ministry and will be ordained in the United Church of Christ.  

Joining McCord on the enrollment team is Hammond, who began working in the department as a student assistant last February. Hammond, who graduated from San Francisco State University, brings a variety of skills, experiences and insights to SFTS. He’s been a customer service rep for a bank, an award-winning journalist and missionary, serving in Kenya and Tanzania. He is a candidate for ordination in the PC(USA).

England replaces Clark as program manager for the Program in Christian Spirituality. “Barb is well-known to the community,” Clark said. “She brings her heart for spirituality, her experience in the business world and her super-abundant gifts of hospitality.”

Before arriving at SFTS, England raised three sons while working full-time in business management in Minnesota for 26 years. Her passions in ministry are for social justice and international mission.  

DECATUR, Ga. ― Applications are due Sept. 30, 2011, for group study grants available to clergy, educators, and other church leaders through Columbia Theological Seminary’s S3 (Sabbath, Study, Service) Project.

S3 offers small, self-selected groups of clergy and other church professionals the opportunity to design and participate in year-long learning projects that strengthen their practice of ministry. Groups will receive $500 per person to fund their self-directed group work. Participants must attend two retreats, one in Feb. 2012 and another in Feb. 2013.

The application procedure requires a group proposal and individual applications from each group member. S3 brochure and application materials are available at S3 Information and Application or by contacting Director of Lifelong Learning and S3 Project Coordinator Sarah Erickson at (404) 687.4526 or by email. Groups will be notified of acceptance by Oct. 14.

“The project develops support groups, fosters skills and ideas for ministry, and offers opportunity for the development of creative approaches for learning,” Erickson says. Columbia’s role in the project is to provide resources, coaching, structure, and other support to the project’s peer learning groups.  A total of 54 groups and 321 individuals have participated in S3 since it began in 2003.

The S3 Project is supported with funding from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., which has awarded the seminary a five-year grant of $648,863 for continuation of the project. “Columbia’s S3 Project was one of the 64 original projects in the Lilly Endowment’s Sustaining Pastoral Excellence initiative,” says Erickson. “We are delighted to receive the continuation grant and look forward to working with new groups in coming years.”